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Dana White: Make it Happen
by Dave Franklin  Subscribe in a reader

It is time for the games to be OVER. ESPN The Magazine announced on Thursday that sometime in the next week, Fedor will be “divorcing” M-1 and becoming a free agent. This opens the possibility of a Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko dream fight in the UFC.

dana whiteBut, there is one man in the way. Dana White.

Apy Echteld, one of Fedor’s agents, has said that they are open to discussion. They are willing to make this happen. Discussions with Fedor’s team reached a stalemate with both sides making demands that neither were willing to agree to.

Among those demands were signing Fedor to an exclusive deal with UFC. I can understand both sides on this issue. Fedor wants to be able to compete in Sambo and should have the chance to since he is a world champion. Dana White wants Fedor to belong to the UFC because of the huge investment. If Fedor becomes the champion, Dana is concerned that it may devalue the UFC heavyweight belt if Fedor is off fighting in other organizations. Another consideration is what if he is injured?

This seemed to be the big deal breaker leading to the stalemate. In negotiations this time, Dana White needs to compromise for the sake of the UFC. Just last week EliteXC announced a deal with CBS to put their MMA show on network TV. The competition continues to grow with World Victory Road recently putting on a successful show with Takanori Gomi and Josh Barnett. It also appears that Pride is being reborn in K-1’s Dream. Mark Cuban has also thrown his hat, and billions, into his idea of an MMA organization, HDNet Fights.

Right now the UFC needs Fedor, the HW division is growing weak. Bringing Fedor in would probably bring Randy Couture back giving the division some depth. Dana White wants to bring Fedor in because he wants Randy back, he wants to try and prove his statements that Fedor is not #1, and, let’s face it, he wants the money. The UFC is the number one MMA organization in the world right now, but with the growth of these other companies it may not be for long.

Here is what, in my opinion, needs to happen with Dana and Fedor Emelianenko. Dana White needs to let Fedor fight in Sambo. If Fedor becomes UFC champion, a Sambo loss will not have an affect on the UFC title. If anything it would create a new MMA contender. Dana also needs to pay the man. Emelianenko deserves to make more than Brock Lesnar. Fedor needs to be willing to fight MMA for the UFC only. I do not think it would be appropriate for a UFC champion to fight and possibly lose in another organization.

The other parts of the negotiations do not involve Fedor. It involves the man who would be Fedor’s first fight, the current UFC heavyweight champion, Randy Couture. It is well know that The Natural was not happy with his contract and that Dana was unable to sign Fedor, so he resigned. Since that time Randy Couture and the UFC have not been on good terms and each have lawsuits against the other. Randy Couture has even signed a contract with HDNet fights that comes into effect once his UFC contract is up.

Dana White has some bridge building to do here. One positive thing that Dana has going for him in his negotiations with Randy is the respect that he still shows him by recognizing him as the UFC HW champion and as a friend. What Dana needs to do is PAY HIM. The champion deserves to make the most money in the division.

With all the other organizations getting fighters and TV deals, the UFC needs Fedor and this fight to stay on top of the MMA world. It is time to get the deal done and make it happen Dana. Still, don’t be surprised to see Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko fighting under the HDNet Fights banner by the end of 2008.

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